Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Burleigh Grimes

(from Baseball for the Love it, Hall of Famers Tell it Like it Was by Anthony Connor)

"I can remember a reporter asking me for a quote, and I didn't know what a quote was. I thought it was some kind of soft drink."

Joltin' Joe Di Maggio

That's believable because it's very possible that there would be someone who would speak words that weren't always understood. Especially in the crazy media-hyped up world of New York.

Times were different then. Lifestyles were a lot more cultured, as all of the ethnicities were adjusting to one another, learning by trial and error, some lessons may have been of the gruff exterior type. That sort of behavior was accepted, back then.

World War I and World War II were times that had absolutely nothing to do with political correctness.

(In 1916, Burleigh Grimes was called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The following is according to the right-handed pitching, well-traveled, Burleigh Grimes.)

Honus Wagner was a wonderful fellow, always having fun. Never too serious. He loved to tell whoppers. He was forty-two (42), in 1916, but still covered his position at shortstop. I remember the first game I ever pitched against Brooklyn @ Ebbets Field. It was a tight spot, about the 7th inning, score tied 1-1, with a man on first. Wagner came over to the mound from the shortstop position and said, "Make him hit it to me, kid."

Coincidentally the batter did hit a hard grounder right to short. Perfect double-play ball. I was proud of myself and figured old Honus had to be impressed. Well, the ball bounced off of Wagner's foot out to left-center field, the runner scored and the batter wound up on third base!

Old Honus came over to me with his dobber down, looking kind of annoyed. He said, "Those damned big feet have always been in my way."

At 42, Honus Wagner was still called the Flying Dutchman.
The Giants have a shortstop who doesn't have a flashy nickname, but he's Hall of Fame worthy. Omar Visquel, wow, I'd like to see the Giants bring him and Barry back next year.

Great players earn "street cred" for always performing at a level where their bar is raised a wee bit higher than any one else, regardless of age. If they say they can play, what have they done to show you they cannot? Perhaps Bonds doesn't need to spend as much time on the field as the slick fielding Visquel. Then again, Barry should get a few more at-bats than Omar.

kevin marquez